More Leaks & Updates on the new iPhone 5 / iPod and iPad

Its coming. 


Apple has invited the tech press to a special launch event on 12 September which no doubt means the launch of the next-generation iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 5. The event will be happening at 10am in San Francisco, California, and that means 1 am Singapore time on 13 Sep. This marks the long-awaited arrival of the iPhone 5, which many have been eagerly anticipating. What about the iPods? iPads?

From Left to Right: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod Touch

We managed to get hold of some new leaked photos of the iphone 5. So what’s new? The rumours and anticipations were that it will come with a 4″ screen, new dock connector, metal back, and powered by the new iOS 6. The above photo was provided by a highly reliable source and it confirms the larger screen and new dock connector. The new iPhone 5 is also significantly slimmer as compared to the iPhone 4S. Most of the other features have already been confirmed as well such as the latest addition was that of the new battery which match the increase in height for the iPhone 5.

iPhone5 new Dock Connector

So what else does Apple have up its sleeve to wrestle back control of the Smartphone industry back from Google & Samsung? We are anticipating a refresh and update of the iPod Touch alongside the iPhone announcement. We have also recently heard of rumours of the 7.85″ iPad but recent news suggest that it might be delayed till October. I believe that is going to be the case as that would allow Apple to better manage the sales of its two top sellers.

The New iPod (s) Touch, Nano?

The iPod Touch has always been somewhat like a cheaper cousin of the iPhone 5, with lousier camera, specs and other features. In fact, with phones today being so feature-rich, is there still a market for the iPod Touch? My initial guess would have been that Apple would pull the iPod Touch off the market and focus on the iPhone, but on Sep 12, there is going to be a new iPod Touch announced as well. So what’s going to be new? It will definitely come with the improvements, new screen, new dock etc, even slimmer than the iPhone 5, but would that be all? I guess Apple could differentiate it as a pure gaming device targeted at the younger generation who may not own a smart phone. Or perhaps, own a Samsung Galaxy S3 with an iPod Touch to have the best of both Apple and Android.

You might be interested in our related post on: Anticipated Launch Date for the iPhone 5 in Singapore

htpc-xbmc-vs-plex

HTPC: XBMC vs Plex… Winner? Read on

Interested to hear about the Pros and Cons of XBMC and Plex?

Well, I have been messing with Home Theater PCs or HTPCs for short since I bought the xbox in 2005 and loaded XBMC on it. Computers have evolved, becoming much more integrated with our daily lives.  The term, HTPC, had been coined years ago but has grown popularity in the recent years with the booming growth of the HDTV market. The phone is also the new age media device, just look at the number of people watching shows on their iPhones and S3s on the buses and trains. TVs have become smarter too, but I still like to use a HTPC for now. Its more customisable, can load more types of streaming content and I can even game through it. But its a matter of time before more efficient devices like the Android miniPCs take over.


XBMC on top, Plex on bottom, don’t they look similar

Well, I digress. The original topic of discussion was XBMC vs Plex. They are both HTPC software. XBMC is a standalone media center that you install onto your device, Windows, Mac, iOS and now even Android. Plex is more complicated. It is divided into two portions, a server where you host local media, as well as to load and share plugins and web-content. Plex Media Center is the front-end media player component and you might realise that it looks very similar to XBMC, that is because Plex had the same developmental roots and forked off in 2008. I would possibly consider XBMC to somewhat like an OS replacement as it is able to launch applications with the plugins and is inherently more customisable wheras Plex strength lies in the fact that the server can support multiple clients.

Installation & Setup: XBMC wins. XBMC as a single piece of software and is way easier to setup and get it off running. Plex requires a bit more attention, due to the uniqueness of the host and server setup. There might be firewall issues to navigate as Plex uses a MyPlex online server setting to broadcast your server. There are some advantages when you start to load it to more devices as basically, only the server needs to be setup. The applications and library are all pulled from the central server. XBMC while easy, requires more effort to duplicate the setup. Due to the initial ease of use, XBMC wins.

Media Support & Playback: Both have no issues supporting streams, MP4s, rmvbs, H264s, avis, etc. Certain reviews do indicate that Plex have issues playing 1080p media files as compared to XBMC but I do not face that problem yet. However, one key area which to me Plex is lacking is the availability of Airplay. The beauty of XBMC is that Airplay is built-in. With XBMC on my HTPC, I can stream media from my phone or video that my friend sent to me over email or Whatsapp directly to the TV. That is something not achievable in Plex. XBMC wins.

Device & Media Distribution: Plex allows small clients to be installed onto devices like Smart Samsung/LG TVs, Android Phones, iPhones etc where they retrieve the media from the server. The advantage here is that Plex supports transcoding and delivery of a format that can be played to these devices. XBMC on the other hand, does not offer the ability to transcode or stream media. With XBMC now available on increasing number of devices, the difference is that the media needs to be duplicated across all or at least shared via a local library. Today, XBMC has made its way to the iPad and Android devices and can play just about every filetype that is available (Android, not so, due to hardware decoding issues). Over the coming years, these devices will, more and more, be cheap enough and simple enough to erase the need for thin clients a thing of the past, to the point that the only value of a server will be in maintaining a consistent library of watched and unwatched material across devices. For now, Plex wins. If you have a Samsung or LG Smart TV, do try out the Plex application to make your Smart TV even smarter.

Database Management: All of us have plenty of data stored in our computers. This ranges from music collection to movie librarys and personal photo albums. A HTPC provides access to all this in a consistent and often elegant interface. It is meant as an entertainment device and provides easy access to your data through your TV or projector, without the requirements of digging deep into our PC folder structure. Both have no problem doing this. Plex has a central database which means all clients get their metadata from a central place. This allows global ‘watched’, ‘resume from’, metadata edits etc. In comparison, XBMC is a distributed model. Each client has it’s own database which means you can’d do things like start watching in the lounge and ‘resume from’ the bedroom. Or watching a show on the bus and continuing where you left off on the living room TV when you return home. If you have multiple device support, all can share the same database so its streamlined across all.

Addons: XBMC has a way larger database and this shows with the number of addons. If you are looking for a specific type of application, there are much better chance to find it on XBMC. However, the popular video channels such as Youtube, Revision3, Hulu etc do make it to both XBMC and Plex. With that being said, Plex offers the Plex It bookmark to easily transfer web content to your Plex Media Center or media devices. The addons also look more polished on Plex, perhaps the API and backend might be better for acquiring content. Draw.

Cost: While both are free, Plex clients for the Android and iOS do cost money. Just today, PlexPass just launched as well at US$3.99 per month and it provides premium features to the subscribers. One of the newest feature is the Plex web client which allows easier management of your media and to play it straight from the browser.

To summarise it all, it is a close call between this two very similar piece of software and it really depends on your usage. I currently am swaying towards Plex due to the multiple client, single setup feature as I do own a couple of devices that i watch on the go, an iPad and an Android phone, and for the ability to synchronise the playlist. Next is because some of my channel plugins just seem to work better on Plex. However, for instances when I want to deploy a standalone media center such as an Android PC connected to a TV, I would greatly prefer XBMC for its standalone features. I still have both software installed, and I do use the XBMC addon PleXBMC which grafts the Plex Media Server access into XBMC. Its not the best implementation and it feels rather clunky to use as a separate addon, but with some dedication to it, it might be the solution that brings the best of XBMC and Plex together.

Access iPhone Apps, Music, Movies without iTunes

All iPhone users have an iTunes account and the iTunes application to manage the applications, music, movies and other media on your iPhone. However, what about times when you are not at your computer? Or what about the times when you format your computer and without the data on it, your computer would wipe your iOS device and start from scratch. I have been using this application from time to time and it has been a life-saver.

http://www.i-funbox.com/

Its an App/File Manager For iPhone, iPod, and the iPad.

The New iPad is now recognized and file transfer is also optimized for the new device. App inspection is a new feature introduced in this version, which allows you to easily inspect the installed apps for their security permissions as well. App file sharing support is also added. You can now easily access the document folder of Apps that supports “File Sharing”.  Its Free. And, also, no jailbreak needed!

Iit allows users to manage files on your iPhone or iPad in a way just like Windows File Explorer without the need for iTunes. Easily transmit files and folders to your computer with the optimized file transfer and browsing. iOS 5.1 is fully supported. Likewise, for music and media, they can be added and removed with ease.

  • Add & remove music and videos from your iPod
  • Add, remove and edit playlists
  • Add & remove album art
  • View and backup photos
  • Copy music, videos and playlists from your iPod to PC
  • Import music/videos into your iTunes library, including playlists and ratings

So if you are not a big fan of iTunes and only have it installed for your iPhone, do try out this application. More importantly, its free!

Nexus 7 vs the iPad – Survival!

The Nexus 7 has launched and it has rave reviews for its great specifications and low price. So did Google cut any corners in terms of the build quality?

The above review pitted the Nexus 7 vs the iPad and the Nexus 7 impressively survived and trounced the iPad in the 3 categories that SquareTrade, the Gadget insurance company, had put them through. The Nexus 7 looks like it is going to be worth every penny. I’m not sure if the results were due to luck as to the angle that the iPad fell but perhaps Google had invested in such amazing engineering that precisely compensated the centre of gravity to determine the orientation if it were to be dropped. Well, at least there’s a pretty good chance that your Nexus 7 would survive a fall.

The Complete Jailbreak Guide for iPod/iPhone/iPad

Jailbreaking lifts the limitations set by Apple and allows developers to expand the features on your iOS device (iPod / iPhone / iPad. More importantly, jailbreak is not illegal in the United States! However, with every iteration of iOS, there’s less reasons to jailbreak and increasingly, it has become harder too.

The below Jailbreak guide is for iOS version 8.4
Follow instructions at http://www.taig.com/en/tutorial.html.

The below Jailbreak guide is for iOS version: 5.1.1

The Quick 3 Step Guide to Jailbreak

  1. Update your device to iOS 5.1.1 through iTunes.
  2. Download Absynthe and extract the app to your desktop. Plug in your device, open Absynthe, quit iTunes (if its not closed automatically), and click the jailbreak button.
  3. Be patient. Your device will go into a fake restore session and reboot. When it reboots, DO NOT TOUCH IT OR UNPLUG IT. You will be notified on-screen when Absynthe completes the jailbreak. When it’s done, you can unplug your device from your computer.

And, it’s done. It IS really that simple.